You Me The Monkeys and the Trees


Tamie Cleaver | September 23, 2015

I’ve had a bit of an odd day today, on my way to the gym this morning I happened to check my FB messages, and there was one from my friend in England, it just read, “my mum died this morning Tam”.

I had one of those strange, time standing still moments. It was strange on a couple of levels, firstly my friends mum wasn’t ill so her death was totally and slightly shockingly unexpected. Secondly to read something like that rather than hear it is strange, it kind of visually imprints the message in your brain, and doesn’t give you those few micro seconds to digest the message that hearing it would’ve done.

I wasn’t necessarily prepared for this, but I don’t shy away from discussions of death, so I was maybe more prepared than some. I think about death quite a lot, not in a morbid kind of way, I also think about life, it’s hand in hand. I read a lot about death as well, from all sources, scientists, philosophers, even religions. What I’ve learnt is that we’re not really looking for the correct answer to that all encompassing question of what happens after we die. I don’t think we really want to know the truth, just in case it’s scary. I think we just want to be reassured that we’ll be okay. Even further than that, we want to be assured that our loved ones will be okay.

So this is what I think happens, it’s a little bit of fact and a little bit of fantasy.

We’re all carbon based life forms, you me, the monkeys and the trees, everything around us, including the earth itself, we’ve always been part of one another. We came from this earth, and when we die, we’ll go back to this earth. Our bodies, in whatever form we choose, whole or as ashes, will be buried in the soil. I imagine this being like taking a long deep breath, happy to be home again after our short foray out into the world. After a time, as the earth ages we’ll mix in deeper and deeper. Eventually, our sun, another carbon based form, will explode, destroying our earth and sending us and it, in splintered pieces careering out into the universe. Maybe to form new planets, maybe to sink into the soft hot belly of a distant sun. Maybe to be sucked into a black hole where endless possibilities lie.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t an afterlife; this isn’t a consciousness, well, not as we know it anyway. One of the worst things the human race has done is get so scared about death that they have invented an afterlife that’s more important than life. The presence of death should be something that encourages us to live in the moment, be present, it’s a short life, and it’s the only life we have.

As for my friends mum, she’ll be in the piece of earth that fly’s out to another galaxy, and on a planet in this distant place, an alien populace will look up and see her bit of rock, hurtling through the sky as shooting star.

[ Credits: Words by Tamie Cleaver, Illustration by me. ]


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